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LIVER: What to do with this beasty beast?

LIVER: What to do with this beasty beast?

Video-GIFv2It’s one thing to eat meat, it’s another to eat organ meat. I’m not normally a fan due to frightening childhood experiences, but I’ve been experimenting with liver the last few weeks and not once did my boys curl their top lip or notice anything different. In fact, when they helped me organise this video (because it’s quicker when they help 😀 ) they were all shocked that the meals had included liver.

I’ve been adding bone broth to meals for years but I think the trick with liver is to cut it into inch size pieces, blend up a couple of these and simply add them to some standard family meals. Freeze the remaining in freezer bags. I added liver, bone broth and Kasundi, a homemade spicy tomato relish that is bursting with turmeric, ginger and garlic. I think it’s the combination of these that’s key.

Try adding your liver paste this way to some of your regular family meals for an added nutritional hit.


Why liver?

Gram for gram, liver is one of the most nutrient dense foods available to us. Key nutrients in liver help keep our brains healthy. These include the essential fatty acids EPA, DHA and AA, as well as vitamin B12. Many disorders of the nervous system result from vitamin B12 deficiency including brain fog, panic attacks, weakness, loss of balance, numbness or depression.

It also contains a large amount of high-quality protein, an easily absorbed form of iron, all the B vitamins, balanced quantities of vitamin A and its fat-soluble cofactors, many trace elements and minerals including copper, zinc, chromium, phosphorous and selenium, as well as the powerful antioxidant CoQ10.

Liver is one of the best sources of balanced, naturally occurring vitamin A which is an important catalyst for many biochemical processes in the body and is absolutely essential for nutrient assimilation, bone development and fertility. Many experts believe that modern diets have left people largely deficient in vitamin A, contributing to poor vision and weak immune systems.

As with anything, too much of a good thing can cause harm particularly if you’re using high doses of synthetic or supplement forms of vitamin A. It is important to consume vitamin A from whole foods like liver, which a balanced nutrient profile and are safe, prepared as nature intended.

Contrary to the popular misconception, the beta-carotene found in greens and other plants is not actually vitamin A – it is a preformed version of which only an average of 8% is converted for use in the body. Active vitamin A is thus only found in high quality foods of animal origin.

Aren’t livers full of toxins?

While it is true that one of the liver’s functions is to act as a filter for toxins, it is not a storage place for them. If there are too many toxins for the bowel to process, they generally accumulate in the fatty tissues and nervous system of the animal.

Try adding your liver paste this way to some of your regular family meals for an added nutritional hit.

Should pregnant women consume Vitamin A?

There were some very early studies on mice that showed that Vitamin A was associated with fetal abnormalities, and based on this; women have been advised for years that large doses of Vitamin A could be toxic, especially to their unborn child.

If we look at the original mice studies though the amount of Vitamin A given to the rodents were enormous and if one tries to translate it into IUs (the units in which we commonly measure Vitamin A) – the number of zeros is too high to work with as many of these studies used intravenous injections of synthetic Vitamin A in massive quantities. No one consumes that amount of Vitamin A, ever.

It’s important to remember that the natural Vitamin A found in liver does not seem to cause the same toxicity problems that synthetic Vitamin A does. In fact, the amount of Vitamin A in one slice of liver is a little less than that in two carrots.

Thirdly, a study carried out in Rome (Teratology, January 1999) found no congenital malformations among 120 infants exposed to more than 50,000 IUs of Vitamin A per day. While a study from Switzerland (International Journal of Vitamin and Nutrition Research) in 1998 looked at blood levels of Vitamin A in pregnant women and found that a dose of 30,000 IUs per day resulted in blood levels that had no association with birth defects (one slice of liver has about 21,000 IUs; a carrot has 12,000).

These studies demonstrate that eating small amounts of foods which contain natural sources of vitamin A, may in fact not be harmful. If you are pregnant and still have hesitations around liver however, then certainly refrain from eating it.

For further information please see our related blogs:

Why Sneaky Liver?




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